Yes, an insurance adjuster can probably use the things that you post on Twitter or other social media accounts against you. If the insurance company can authenticate the account, the courts will likely allow the insurer to use your postings if they are relevant to your case.
A savvy insurance adjuster will likely check out your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts when reviewing the details of your case. The adjuster or insurance defense attorney might even look at social network accounts you forgot that you had.
Expectation of Privacy
When people post things on social media, there is little expectation of privacy. Your post could “go viral” at any time, and millions of people could view it. Even if you are careful about your privacy settings and limit who can see your postings, the people who do see it could share it with others, who could send it on to more people, and so on.
There Is No Such Thing as Deleted
Once you upload or type something online, the item or information is no longer under your control. Let’s say that you posted an embarrassing photo, then deleted it the next day after realizing that posting it was a mistake.
It is extremely difficult to delete that picture from the Internet entirely. Even if you remove it from your social media accounts, it may still exist on the hard drive of anyone who saw it, in the cloud, or on the social media service’s backup server.
Anyone who viewed the photo could have downloaded it or taken a screenshot. That person could then share the photo with others without any input from you. It is important to never post anything you would not be comfortable being broadly seen.
Out of Context
An insurance adjuster can take your social media posts out of context and use them to justify paying you less money for your accident claim. Here are a few examples:
- While stuck at home and bored during recuperation, you post a photo of yourself running a marathon a week before your accident. The upload does not state that the photo was before your injury – it only gives the date on which you uploaded the item. The adjuster will use the photo and upload date to claim that you were running marathons after the accident, so you must be faking your injuries.
- You post a joking or self-deprecating comment about the wreck, like calling yourself clumsy or describing your significant injuries as “a little boo-boo.” The adjuster will claim that you are lying about the severity of the injuries or that you admitted being at fault in the wreck.
- The insurance company’s defense lawyer can paint a negative portrait of you to the jury by using unrelated information harvested from your social media accounts. For example, comments or photos about drug or alcohol use can make the jury less sympathetic toward you. Also, it can cause problems if you “like” or “follow” certain inflammatory organizations or celebrities.
Things that seem innocent or personal could come back to reduce the settlement value of your case. Talk with your lawyer about what you should and should not post on social media.
The Bottom Line
If you have suffered an injury in an accident, the best practice is to stay off social media until after the case. An insurance adjuster has a right to use what you post and may twist it into something you never intended.
For example, because an old friend visited you while you were recuperating from extensive injuries, you might post “Having a wonderful day.” The adjuster might claim that you were feeling fine and deny pain and suffering damages from that point forward.
Georgia law allows parties to a lawsuit to obtain almost anything that is relevant to your lawsuit through the discovery process, even if they could not use the item in court. The insurance company can get a treasure trove of information from social media since many people let their guard down when posting.
How to Navigate Social Media During Your Accident Claim or Lawsuit
The earlier you talk with your lawyer about how social media can affect your case, the better. Your personal injury attorney can advise you about what, if anything, to post. Many people deactivate their social media accounts while they have a pending accident claim, but we can explain the rules that control these cases.
At S. Burke Law, we can answer your questions about social media and your injury case. Just call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and let you know if you might be eligible for compensation.